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Sheila Hanford

Sheila Hanford - Violin


Sheila "The Philosopher"

I love teaching violin and working one-on-one with students.  I have taught all ages and abilities, from the young child as a beginner to the adult who wants to take up the instrument again.  I believe in teaching each student according to his or her needs.

Much research has shown that studying music contributes to brain development.  I believe that studying an instrument increases self-esteem and confidence, develops discipline, and improves problem-solving and communication skills.  It’s also a lot of fun to make music with other people!

Sheila "The Teacher"

My teachers include Masao Kawasaki, an assistant to Dorothy Delay, Dr. Myron Kartman at Northwestern University, and Albert Igolnikov, Associate Principal 2nd Violin of the Chicago Symphony.  I graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelors of Music in Violin Performance.

I began teaching at age 12 because my junior high orchestra teacher asked me too!  There were no violin teachers in the small town in Pennsylvania where I grew up.  So in 7th grade I had five students and charged $5 per hour.  That was the beginning of my teaching career and I have continued to teach violin ever since.  I also taught at St. Olaf College for two years.

Currently, I am on the faculty of the Birch Creek Music Festival in Door County, Wisconsin, a two-week symphony and chamber music summer camp.

Sheila "The Performer"

I have been playing in orchestras since I was a beginner on violin.   I joined my local youth symphony when I was 11 years old, and in my last year of high school I had the wonderful opportunity to play a concerto with them.  I also played a lot of chamber music with my family and friends when I was growing up.

I have performed with Chicago’s Lyric Opera, Music of the Baroque, Chicago Philharmonic, Elgin Symphony and the Rembrandt Chamber Players.  I have also performed with the Milwaukee Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra and the Minnesota Opera. 

Sheila "The Student"

I enjoy learning new things.  I just started piano lessons at the Musical Offering with Rick Ferguson.  My only other piano teacher was my mother when I was a child!  I believe that by learning a new instrument myself, I will better understand what my students are experiencing in their lessons with me.  I am also studying woodworking at the Chicago School of Woodworking.

Sheila "The Mom"

I am married to a violinist (Robert Hanford, concertmaster of Lyric Opera) and I have three sons, ages 26, 23 and 11.  My oldest son is a pianist and composer and currently attending a music college.  My middle son is also a violinist and plays mandolin, banjo, and guitar.  My youngest son has studied piano at The Musical Offering with Jennifer McCabe and Rick Ferguson.  There is always lots of music in our house, and even our two Labrador retrievers lie under the piano when someone is playing!

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